As councils continue to make great strides in developing their channel strategies, customer expectation continues to put pressure on resources.
More from: Channel shift: it's only just begun
Transforming the way services are delivered and accessed does not need to be viewed with trepidation. Much of the information needed for developing an effective, efficient and responsive channel strategy and service transformation is already familiar. And if you take on board the knowledge and insight of those using the services and the professionals who deliver them, more than half the job is done.
Although the limitations of available resources, the perceived complexity or incompatibility of existing IT infrastructure and a fear of cultural change may act as potential barriers, inaction carries far greater potential risk as demographics, social expectations, economics and digital technologies continue their march.
The development and growing popularity of digital communication channels might provide the tools, but it is up to the service provider to determine how these can deliver the best outcomes.
Understanding service users’ needs, attitudes and expectations must lie at the heart of any future-proofed channel strategy. Only then will it be possible to determine the most appropriate mix of services and channels to maximise and sustain service accessibility, engagement and performance.
In most cases, this data already exists within a local authority’s various service departments. It is surprising, therefore, that only half of the survey respondents appear to be capitalising on this readily available resource.
Equally, the people with practical expertise in any given service area are the frontline professionals who actually deliver the service. Directly involving them is critical - not just in terms of practicalities, but also to ensure specific expertise is harnessed within the new delivery framework.
There is little doubt that effective channel shift is becoming a prerequisite for effective, comprehensive and managed service transformation. For all authorities, it is a case of evolution - learning from feedback, the involvement of citizens and staff, the experience of informed partners and peers - and responding accordingly.
This will enable the authority to progress with an effective and adaptable strategy that takes cultural change in its stride and harnesses user preferences to ensure optimum accessibility and relevance.
Jonathan Prew, MD of Serco’s loal government business
Column sponsored and supplied by Serco
Harnessing knowledge for service transformation